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Peter and Donna Thomas ~ California
(Adventures of the Wandering Book Artists)

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Peter Thomas, Being a Book Artist: "Being a book artist is more than just making books; it’s living and breathing them. It’s about becoming so involved with the subject matter that the physical attributes of the book reveal themselves. It’s about listening to the materials invoke the proper text. It’s about loving those materials and knowing them so well that we feel their desire to be used in the book we are making. We didn’t begin our artistic careers planning to be artists of the book. It was more a case of being called, inspired with the desire to make a Good Book: one that, through the materials, in the text, and by the visual and tactile impact, will move the viewer from the everyday to a new place, a place that stirs the soul."

By Susan Lowdermilk, Donna Thomas, Peter Thomas, and Andie Thrams
California: 2022. Edition of 32.

Twelve artists’ books, an informational companion book, About HOPE?, and a vial of wildfire ash in a 13 x 8.5 x 7" wooden reliquary made by Taylor Millar, a woodworker from Lagunitas, California. Reliquary f repurposed Douglas fir and locally sourced coast redwood. Title, hand stamped on brass attached to the base of the structure. Paper label affixed inside the structure stating provenance. Materials: Handmade and commercial paper, brass, wood, wildfire charcoal and ash.

Processes: woodcut, linoleum cut, pressure print, photogram, letterpress, digital printing, watercolor, gouache, and ink painting. Books signed by their respective artists and numbered.

Artists project statement: "HOPE? is a collaborative art project created by Susan Lowdermilk, Donna Thomas, Peter Thomas, and Andie Thrams. Through field work in recently burned and green forests in Oregon and California, the artists investigated the complex topics of tree mortality, catastrophic wildfire, and climate change. They have created a wooden reliquary holding twelve artists' books, an informational companion book, About HOPE?, and a vial of wildfire ash to bear witness to the devastation of western forests, honor the importance of trees, and grapple with the question of hope at this pivotal moment in the Anthropocene epoch."

These four artists began their collaboration over dinner in 2019 during the CODEX Foundation Symposium and Book Fair in Richmond, California. At the 2019 Symposium the CODEX Foundation invited artists to create work addressing the global environmental crisis. These four decided to work together to create art regarding trees and forests. The pandemic delayed their project. During this time catastrophic fires near their homes shifted their focus “to investigate the impact of wildfire on western forests”.

Their research led them to the University of California Merced’s Yosemite Field Station in Wawona, California; to a California forest that had burned in the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex fire; and, Oregon’s McKenzie River Valley at H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. They met with researchers, forest rangers, Forest Service scientists and photographer David Bayles. They worked together, camped together, talked together. “HOPE?” is the result of their research, their art, and their care for what is happening to our forests and trees.

About Hope? conclusion: “As we completed and documented our collaboration, we knew there would always be more to learn and understand about forest ecosystems. The project has shown us how our diverse strengths and working styles as artists mirror the complexities found in a healthy forest. We hope the ideas and images we have shared within our reliquary will encourage others to ponder what we have pondered, and likewise find reason to take action and have HOPE.”




Be Joyful
Handmade paper by Peter Thomas; Linoleum cut by Donna Thomas

“Today, in the face of information overload and misinformation, educating ourselves becomes all the more important — we need to dig deeply into the issues to understand what is really going on, to find hope, and to take action.”

Be Joyful book

Woodcut by Susan Lowdermilk

“I saw images of protestors carrying signs demanding climate justice from their leaders with messages similar to the quote I used by Boris Johnson. I thought about how leaders and the people must understand balance with nature to survive.”

Breathe book

Catastrophic Wildfire
Text by Peter Thomas
Photograms by Susan Lowdermilk, Donna Thomas, Andie Thrams Letterpress printed by Peter Thomas

“As our understanding of catastrophic wildfires and their connection to climate change expanded, our concerns increased. We see the catastrophic wildfires as only one signal that we need to mitigate climate change now.”

Catastrophic Wildfrie book

Fire Followers
Handmade paper by Peter Thomas
Relief printed by Donna Thomas

“After a forest fire certain plants will bloom and these plants are called ‘fire followers.’ Finding these plants growing through the ash and among the blackened trunks brought us hope and delight.”

Fire Followers book

Hope Calls for Action
Designed and assembled by Peter and Donna Thomas

“As the flexagon is manipulated, the texts fluctuate from hopeful to dire and reflect the shifts in our feelings as we grappled with the possibility of a catastrophic future and our ability to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.”

Hope Calls for Action book

by Susan Lowdermilk, Peter Thomas, Andie Thrams
Pressure print images by Susan Lowdermilk

“Witnessing the obvious decline of the forest in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia in Yosemite caused us to wonder what else will be threatened with extinction, and how that will affect the chain of life.”


Old Growth Matters
Text by Donna Thomas, Peter Thomas, Andie Thrams
Woodcuts by Susan Lowdermilk, Donna Thomas, Andie Thrams
Handmade paper by Peter Thomas

“The rich biodiversity of an ancient forest ecosystem takes centuries to evolve, provides habitat for innumerable species, sustains countless ecological processes essential to a healthy planet, and is therefore crucial to our survival.”

Old Growth Matters book

Mass Unraveling
Imagery, printing, and design by Andie Thrams

“How much is our world unraveling? Are we capable of taking action to reverse, or just slow down, the downward spiral we may be within?”

Mass Unraveling book

Only What We Love
Text by Susan Lowdermilk
Letterpress printed by Donna Thomas
Accordion tree shape by Donna Thomas; Handmade paper by Peter Thomas

“To love a tree so much that one gives it a name can lead to protecting what is loved.”

Only What We Love book

Resilience (right)
Watercolor and gouache painting by Andie Thrams
Woodcuts by Susan Lowdermilk
Linoleum cut by Donna Thomas
Letterpress printed by Peter Thomas

“Clearly the earth has enough resilience to continue on no matter what humankind does, but forests don’t have that kind of resilience.”

Resilience (right) book

Vast Unseen Networks
Text by Susan Lowdermilk, Donna Thomas, Peter Thomas, Andie Thrams
Cover paper handmade by Peter Thomas
Woodcuts by Donna Thomas and Andie Thrams

“Through webs of underground fungi connecting tree roots to other plants, forest resources and information are shared. … We hope this book inspires interest in and admiration for the mysterious and diverse processes that help trees flourish.”

Vast Unseen Networks book

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Text and images by Andie Thrams

“This book explores the overwhelming, destabilizing, and sometimes dark feelings that frequently arise with awareness of catastrophic wildfire, worldwide species extinction, habitat loss, and climate change.”

More details can be found in the in the “About Hope?” pamphlet.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot book
The Alder
A poem by William Everson
Illustrations by Donna Thomas
Essay by Allan Campo
Artists' Statement by Peter and Donna Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2012. Edition of 50.

12.5 x 8.25" 18 pages. Coptic bound between alder wood boards. Slipped in a leather satchel, (what Everson called a parfleche). Letterpress printed on handmade paper. Linoleum cuts by Donna Thomas. Handmade paper by Peter Thomas. Numbered. Of the edition, 30 special copies bound in a unique wooden structure, 20 copies bound between wooden boards.

Peter and Donna Thomas: "As we have come to understand Everson’s poem, through the process of creating this book, the poem's alder tree represented for Everson his own lost potential. In the poem the poet fells an old and stately tree, but only to use it as firewood. Everson was at the height of his career when he was working on this poem, and had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Like the alder, he was cut down in his prime, no longer able to create the work he previously thought possible. Shortly before he died, Everson confided to me his dream that his library and the A-frame building he had built with his own hands, would become a literary shrine, a place of pilgrimage, like Jeffers’ Tor House. Everson died penniless. That A-frame library had been built on rented land owned by benevolent landlords, but it was not his own, and on his death passed to new tenants. Symbolically, we made our book using of tiny pieces of alder wood to represent the fire wood fate of the alder in the poem. Rather than destroying, burning, those small bits, we built the binding for this poem using them. This book became a way we could fulfill Everson’s dream of creating a literary shrine for his words. This book is that literary shrine, a monument to his work and his life

"The wood we used for our binding is alder from an alder tree felled near Everson’s home, where he cut the tree in the poem, on Kingfisher Flat in Big Creek Canyon near Santa Cruz. The tree was cut and milled by Big Creek Lumber."
$950 (Last 6 copies)

The Alder book
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Text excerpt by John Muir
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2012.
Edition of 100.

3 x 2.25"; 11 pages. Miniature. Accordion structure. Images from original watercolors by Donna Thomas. Reproduced on handmade paper by Peter Thomas. Bound in a leather wrapper with wood panels on the front and back covers. Stick closure slides through slits at the foreedge. Numbered.

A quotation from John Muir’s book is illustrated by watercolor paintings and calligraphy by Donna Thomas.

Peter and Donna Thomas: "Original watercolor paintings and calligraphy by Donna reproduced on Peter's handmade paper, then attached to a pleated spine made from Peter's handmade paper that is green with images of trees made by spraying paper pulp through stencils."

Winner of the 2013 Miniature Book Society Distinguished Book Award .
$175 (Last 3 copies)
Tree book
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Song of the Open Road
Poem by Walt Whitman
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2011.
Edition of 150.

3 x 3"; 16 panels. Miniature. Accordion-folded flutter book. Letterpress printed with Goudy 30 type in red ink. Text printed on an ochre colored piece of paper handmade by Peter Thomas. Images are digital reproductions from original watercolors by Donna Thomas. Modified piano hinge binding. Marbled paper over boards with illustrated title on front cover. Numbered.

Peter and Donna Thomas: "The text is the first stanza of Whitman's well loved poem ... Eight watercolor paintings of gypsy caravans that Donna painted while at the Society for Creative Anachronism's 2010 Pennsic Wars are printed on a white sheet of Peter's handmade paper that has been handcut and laid over the text sheet. The book is bound with a unique modified piano hinge binding that Donna developed specifically for this book."
$150 (Last 3 copies)
Song of Open Road book
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A Gipsy Caravan
Text by Kenneth Grahame
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2010.
Edition of 150.

2.125 x 2.625"; 26 pages. Miniature accordion. Original watercolor illustrations and calligraphy by Donna Thomas color copied. Handmade paper by Peter Thomas. Case bound. Gypsy print cloth covered boards with leather spine. Porcelain medallion on the front cover made and painted by Donna Thomas. Text excerpt from Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, 1915.

The Microbibliophile, Vol. XXX No.1, January 2011, review: "Watercolor illustrations and calligraphy by Donna have been color copied on Peter's handmade paper, a treasure in itself. The paper seems to make the journey come alive on the pages. ... The illustrations are so well done that they seem to draw you into the journey of the colorful gipsy caravan, the landscapes viewed from its windows as well as the fold-up table, the lockers, and bins inside the wagon, all of the many details. You can just hear the hanging pots 'clanking' as the wagon moves down the road. The actual text is from the Wind in the Willows but is certainly representative of the journey that Peter and Donna started in April 2010, which is the adventures of the wondering book artists, crisscrossing the country in their gipsy wagon, delivering talks and workshops as well as collaborating with book artists and printers along the way. "
$150 (Last 3 copies)

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The History of Papermaking in the Philippines
By Peter and Donna Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2005. Edition of 75.

10.75 x 13.624" with 50 pages. Illustrated by Donna Thomas with 15 linoleum cuts. Handbound by Peter and Donna Thomas. Letterpress printed on a text paper handmade by Peter Thomas. The text paper is from cotton rag, pigmented with umber and flecked with Timkin (a Philippine fiber). Includes eleven paper samples handmade by Filipinos from Philippine plants. Quarter bound with a red Moroccan leather spine (blind stamped with the title). Boards are covered with T’nalak (a Philippine ikat dyed fabric, made with twisted abaca fiber, woven on a backstrap loom). The binding structure was developed by Peter and Donna to accommodate the special requirements of this book: the short and long pages create space for the paper samples and the samples are sewn in place so that they can move with changes in humidity. The edition has seventy regular copies, in slipcases and five special copies.

Peter and Donna Thomas on the making of this book: "The History of Papermaking in the Philippines is the culmination of almost twenty years of work. Making this book could be likened to walking in the footsteps of Dard Hunter; or, in a less romantic but perhaps more accurate way to completing a doctoral dissertation. The book had its genesis in 1986 when Nida Dumsang, visiting from the Philippines, taught a one day papermaking workshop in Santa Cruz. Peter took the class, learning how to make paper from plants, a thing he had not done before. We bought samples of Dumsang’s paper with the thought of making a book to feature the papers that would be accompanied by a short text describing her processes and also a brief history of papermaking in the Philippines."

"This was easier said than done, for we couldn’t find any references to Philippine papermaking in any local libraries, the Dard Hunter Paper Museum or the Library of Congress. When we asked Dumsang for information on the subject, she wrote back: "The Philippines had no tradition of written history before the arrival of the white man...historians have found it difficult to piece together facts because there are only the scantiest written records from that era.""

Peter was astonished that there was not a history of papermaking in the Philippines; with such variety and abundance of fibrous plants, suitable for papermaking, it seemed likely that Filipinos would have used those plants to make paper. The idea of writing the first history of Filipino papermaking called him, and Peter entered into the project with the zeal of a second Dard Hunter. But it soon became clear he could not do justice to the subject without visiting the country and in February of 1990 he went to the Philippines. Later that year we made a book, Bayad - The story of a trip to the Philippines to discover why there is no history of papermaking in that country, which chronicles the trip. But the research had just started. It took years, following up the leads he found on that trip, to get all the information needed to complete the text.

This present book presents the information that was gathered over the following ten years (with the help and encouragement of numerous scholars and colleagues). The text includes discussions of the pre-historic precursors to paper, including Philippine bark cloth. It contains a survey of the first printed books made in the Philippines and the paper they were printed on. (The first book printed in the Philippines was made before a book was printed in the New England colonies.) It documents our research to discover when the first sheet of paper was made in the Philippines. When describing abaca fiber the text describes how it made Manila hemp rope, and how that was used to make Manila paper. The book ends with a chronological history of both commercial and hand paper making in the Philippines up to 2000.
$950 (Last 3 copies)

history of papermaking in the Philippines book
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Miniature Leaf Books
By Peter and Donna Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2005. Edition of 126.

2.975 x 2.25" with 30 pages. In an edition of 120 regular copies, six special copies, one vellum copy.

According to this text, there are at present four known miniature leaf books – this volume being one of the four.

Includes a definition and history of leaf books. Tipped in are leaves from three miniature books: an American “thumb” Bible published in 1831; a Bryce "Ellen Terry" book, The Shakespeares [sic] Glossary (Glasgow, 1904), and the American Tract Society's Dew Drops, circa 1847). Descriptions of each leaf sample and the book it came from.

Letterpress printed on (according to the printer) a cranky old Pearl treadle press using Joe Halton's linotype for the text and handset Neuland for the titles. Text paper by Peter Thomas from bleached denim rag; the endpages have flecks of paper from Keble's Reports (1686). Case-bound using Peter Thomas’s handmade paper toned brown with a wash of raw umber. The title on the cover, the paper the title is mounted on, and the sample on the title page are all from "Keble's Reports." Text written in 1997, set in type in 1998, but not printed until 2005. Although Peter Thomas wrote the text, the research is based largely on information provided by John Class.
$200 (Last 3 copies)

Miniature Leaf Books
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Love is Everlasting:
Traditional Hawaiian Proverb

By Peter and Donna Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2003. Edition of 100.

1.25 x 1.3", 10 accordion pages. Color copied onto paper handmade by Peter Thomas. Accordion bound between covers wrapped with Hawaiian tapa cloth (a traditional cloth-like material made by pounding the inner bark of the
mulberry tree). Paper band with title slips over book.

Originally a one-of-a-kind book that Donna Thomas had hand painted and hand lettered. The proverb is in Hawaiian and English: "Love is worn like a wreath through the summers and the winters, love is everlasting."
$125 (Last 3 copies)

Love is Everlasting book
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An Aesop's Fable: The Donkey & the Thistle
By Tanya and Suzanne Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Just For Fun Press, 1993. Edition of 175.

3 x 2.5"; 12 pages. Paper made, type set, printed, and bound by the Thomases. Numbered.

Tanya and Suzanne are the daughters of book artists Peter and Donna Thomas. The sisters had their own imprint: Just for Fun Press. This was the second book they produced under the Just For Fun Press imprint.

Aesop's "The Donkey & the Thistle" is here retold by Tanya and Peter Thomas. Illustrations by Suzanne and Donna Thomas.
$60 (Last 3 copies)

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The First Christmas Story
By Peter and Donna Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: 1988, The Good Book Press. Edition of 200.

66.5 x 49 mm (2 5/8” x 1 15/16”); 32 pages. Copies 26-200 are bound in red paper, handmade by Peter Thomas, over boards. Illustration by Donna Thomas on label inset on cover. Title below inset. End sheets red. Some copies are quarter-bound in red Morocco leather and red paper, handmade by Peter Thomas. Illustration by Donna Thomas on label inset on cover. End sheets peach. Paper: Cream with red fibers. Printing: Letterpress. Typography: Handset Centaur. Illustration: Six linocuts by Donna Thomas and eight initials handwritten by Donna Thomas. Illustrations in copies 1-25 hand-colored by Donna Thomas. Notes: Illustration on cover is a letterpress reduction linocut printed on paper handmade by Peter Thomas.

This is the King James Version of the Bible of the Christmas story. It is the story of the birth of Christ taken from the gospel according to Luke.

Peter Thomas: "This is a miniature version of the same text, Luke 2:1-18, used in our earlier editions of 'The First Christmas Story' … The use of hand-drawn initial letters was inspired by Valenti Angelo's 'Book of Esther'."
$75 Quarter-bound or full paper bindings available

The First Christmas Story book
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Sometimes I Pretend
Poem by Naomi Shihab Nye
Book design by Peter and Donna Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2014. Edition of 35 .

Double-sided scroll in a spring-loaded 4.25 x 10. 375 x 4.25" box. Handmade paper by Peter Thomas. Paper pulp stenciled images by Donna Thomas. Box sides covered in pulp stenciled handmade paper. Box ends of California walnut wood. Wooden sprocket cranks made from maple. Unsharpened No.2 Ticonderoga Beginners pencil attached to the end of the scroll. Signed and numbered by the artists.

Peter and Donna Thomas: "We found the words 'secret motor chirring' central to our reading of the poem. Our interpretation of Nye's poem was informed by previous explorations into this timeless theme, both by British arts and crafts fine press printers when they said 'don’t let yourself become part of the machine, but work to create beauty with your hands…' and the visual depiction of Charlie Chaplin in 'Modern Times' when he works at the assembly line or as he swings precariously from the hands of the giant clock, and this led us to bind the book as a motor. This also inspired our use of the clock and pencil imagery and the pencil page stop, which for us symbolize the relentless call of work.

"This short poem by Nye has been hand set with various sizes and fonts of wood and metal type and printed as a scroll, in multiple colors using a 'rainbow roll'… The paper is also illustrated with two paper pulp stenciled steam punk images made by Donna. Each image was sprayed using 4 colors of pulp through 2 or 3 stencils. The spray pulp was made from old colored rags with no added pigments. The scroll is bound in a unique box structure made with paper pulp stenciled handmade paper and California walnut. The box also features wooden sprocket cranks made from straight grain maple, inscribed with the word 'close' and an arrow indicating the direction to rotate the sprocket to return the scroll into the box. There is a pencil attached to the end of the scrolling text to restrain it from slipping into the box."

$695 (Last 3 copies)

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Papermaking in Seventeenth Century England
By John Evelyn and Celia Fiennes
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 1990. Edition of 200

6.75 x 5". 42 pages.

The diary entries written by John Evelyn and Celia Fiennes, recording their visits of paper mills during the late 1600’s, are preceded by short biographies and accompanied by commentary on the author’s observations.

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Peter and Donna Thomas Sold and Out of Print titles:

Text by John Muir
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2009.
Edition of 100.

2.25 x 2.875"; 18 unnumbered pages. Miniature. Accordion with end papers attached to boards. Watercolor illustrations copied onto handmade paper. Casebound with printed paper covers and red leather spine. Handmade paper by Peter Thomas. Illustrations by Donna Thomas.

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread ..."

Peter and Donna Thomas: "The text is a quote by John Muir. The text was hand drawn in Donna's 'Freesans' calligraphic type face. There are 10 full page watercolor illustrations of ripe Sierra berries."
(SOLD/Out of Print)

Beauty book
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Don't Fence Me In
By Peter and Donna Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2010. Edition of 50.

2.25 x 3"; 8 unnumbered pages. Miniature accordion with end papers attached to boards. Vintage type and photoengravings copied onto paper handmade by Peter Thomas. Wooden covers with embossed leather illustration tipped on front board.

Peter and Donna Thomas: "Text is the first line of Cole Porter's archetypal cowboy song. Images are vintage printers cuts."
(SOLD/Out of Print)


Don't fence me in book
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Half Dome:
A Climbing History

By Donna Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2000. Edition of 130.

3 x 2.25", 32 pages. Two black and five 3 color block print illustrations by Donna. Hand set, letterpress printed on paper handmade by Peter Thomas. Coptic bound with redwood boards.

A story about Yosemite’s Half Dome, its discovery and first ascents, is told in a footnoted text.
(SOLD/Out of Print)

Half Dome book
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In the San Joaquin Valley
Text by John Muir
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2008. Edition of 51.

2.9 x 1.6"; 12 pages. Accordion miniature. Letterpress printed using handset metal Canterbury type. Floral cloth covered boards with paper title.

Peter Thomas: "The text is a quote by John Muir, written in 1868, about his walk across the then wildly verdant San Joaquin Valley. There is a line drawing illustration, by Donna Thomas, of the landscape Muir described. It is woven through the text, and runs along the bottom of the accordion pages. The illustration is printed with a rainbow roll, and the color gradates from red/brown in the mountains to brown/green at the ground. The paper was handmade by Peter from cotton rag, with sprays of flowery pulp painted colors splashed across the sheet. The book is bound with flowery cloth covered boards with is a paper label on the front. The book was secretly made for Donna’s 51st birthday and so there are 51 copies."
(SOLD/Out of Print)

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Landscape of the John Muir Trail
By Donna Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2002. Edition of 150.

24 accordion pages, 2.63 x 2.13". Bound in painted handmade paper with a paper slipcase.

In 2002 Donna once again hiked the 218 mile John Muir Trail. She hiked 29 days and painted a landscape picture a day. Her paintings have been reproduced as beautiful color copies on Peter’s handmade paper (made from cotton rag and the shirt Donna wore on the trail).
(Out of Print)

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Meditations at the Edge:
Paper and Spirit

By Dorothy Field
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 1996. Edition of 100.

4.5 x 11”; 30 pages. Long, narrow format. In the edition of 100, there are 86 copies sewn into red linen over boards. Written and illustrated by Dorothy Field. Thirty pages of research and ruminations printed on handmade hemp paper by Peter Thomas. Kozo paper for illustrations was made by Field.

Over several years, Field traveled in Asia visiting papermakers, tracing the history of paper, and collecting information on how paper is made, while reflecting on its place in various cultures. She found that in parts of Asia the uses of paper went beyond the mundane into the area of spirit. She points out that in Japanese, although the characters are different and linguistically unrelated, the spoken word kami means both gods and paper. There seems a kinship. Before the invention of paper, both raw mulberry and hemp fibers were used as offerings to the gods. Reconnecting to paper's roots in the earth, good paper, she says, is a sensory experience—fingertips, eyes, ears, and nose are all engaged. Of a shop selling fine papers she writes, "A faint smell of harvest hangs in the air."
(SOLD/Out of Print)

Meditations at the Edge book
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Nature Paints
Quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2008. Edition of 50.

1.75 x 2.25"; 18 pages. Accordion with endpages bound in. Four double-spread inkjet reproductions from original watercolors. Calligraphy, binding, and original paintings by Donna Thomas. Handmade paper by Peter Thomas. Wooden boards with paper title on front cover.

The North Yosemite sites: Tower Peak, Matterhorn Canyon, High Emigrant Lake, and Otter Lake.

Peter Thomas: "The text is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The original was calligraphed onto paper panels that were glued onto maps showing the areas where the drawings were made. There are 4 double-spread watercolor paintings of Sierra scenes that were painted on site in the Sierra while she was backpacking. This edition was color copied onto handmade paper Peter made specially for the project."
(Out of Print)

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No Form of Love: A quote by Eleanor Roosevelt
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2004. Edition of 47.

2.13 x 1.63" with 21 inch scrolling page. Letterpress printed on Peter's handmade paper, using old wood and various metal typefaces, with a rainbow roll of ink that goes from red to purple. No two copies are exactly the same. The back of the scroll was printed with hearts that were carved in a linoleum block by Donna for Peter on Valentine's Day. The scroll is wrapped around a capped brass shaft. This scroll unit is slipped inside a hole that was drilled into a small paduk wood block. This block was in turn glued as a textblock into the covers of the book. The outside cover is made from Peter's handmade paper. It has a title label glued on the front cover. This label which depicts violets and the script initials "E.R.", as E.R. signed her letters, was printed from a linoleum block carved by Donna: ER states that in her day it was the custom to give violets as a token of affection to ones' lovers.

The book was made as an expression of love: love of material possessions, book structures, words of wisdom, complex ideas and freedom of choice. The text was taken from one of Eleanor Roosevelt's personal notebooks. It was written as a comment on a book she was reading at the time, as a statement that one should be free to choose whom one loves.
(Out of Print)

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Paper from Plants
By Peter and Donna Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 1999.Edition of 150.

8.75 x 11.6”; 100 pages. Quarterbound using green Moroccan leather with blind-stamped spine title. The book boards of the main edition are covered with handpainted, decorative papers. The front cover title is printed on pampas grass paper set into a simple, raised geometric design. Stiff paper wrapper slipcase. Letterpress printed in black ink from Centaur and Neuland types with illustrations from photo engravings in green.

A fabulous survey of America's hand papermakers with thirty, full-page sample sheets of papers made from local plants. The variety of plants and resultant papers offered some interesting occupational hazards in the making, and sometimes even in the transporting (as the DEA confiscated a shipment of Spanish Moss). Sample sheets are displayed alongside text sheets written by each papermaker that describes his or her choice of fiber and tells something of the plant and/or the process of making that particular paper. The colors and textures are rich, varied, and even surprising, some delightfully so. Illustrations of the plants by Donna Thomas adorn each text page. The 8.5 x 11 inch paper samples have been stab sewn through an accordion folded gutter, uniquely developed for this book, that allows samples to expand and contract with changes in humidity without damaging neighboring sheets. This book is beautifully conceived and executed from beginning to end.
(Out of Print)



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By Peter Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2010. Edition of 30.

8.5 x 5.5"; 12 pages. Laser printed. Handmade paper by Peter Thomas. Found pencils. Handmade trifold cover with pencil holder. Laid in handmade wooden hinged box. Numbered.

Peter Thomas: "This book is a celebration of the pencil. The text is a short history of the pencil and there are vintage advertising pencils displayed in the book. The text was handwritten and illustrated, and colored with pencil by Donna. The original was then color laser printed on Peter's handmade paper for the edition. The six vintage pencils are mounted in the center of the book, held in a wooden holder that we made using pencil cedar, constructed with a hand-carved dovetail joint. The binding has a unique tri-fold cover, the text hidden behind the inner cover and the pencil holder. Donna executed the binding, using oasis goat leather spines and Peter's handmade paper that he printed using antique wood type, with multiple press runs in multiple colors."
(SOLD/ Out of Print)


Pencil book
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Song of Creation
By John Muir
Illustrated by Donna Thomas.
Handmade papers by Peter Thomas.
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 1999. Edition of 500.

2.75 x 2.125”; 10 pages. Color-copied illustration. Ten-page double pop-up accordion structure bound in covered boards.

Love of nature is reflected in every facet of the book, from Donna's panoramic watercolor view of Yosemite Valley—by her reckoning the most majestic bit of nature on earth—to the plant fibers in the green, handmade cover paper and, of course, Muir's timeless text.
$(SOLD/Out of print)


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The Southwest
By Peter and Donna Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2010. Edition of 50.

1.75 x 2.25"; 18 unnumbered pages. Miniature accordion with end papers attached to boards. Watercolor illustrations by Donna Thomas copied onto paper handmade by Peter Thomas. Endpage birds are created from "red dirt" from Sedona, Arizona. Bound in cover paper made with Mojave Desert yucca fiber.

Peter and Donna Thomas: "Watercolors painted on our wandering book artists' gypsy wagon trip in the Southwest." The Thomas' traveled in their homemade gypsy caravan through parks in Arizona and Utah in the Spring of 2010.
(SOLD/Out of Print)


The Southwest
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Spring Wildflowers ABC
By Peter and Donna Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2006. Edition of 150.

2.875 x 2.1875". Images color printed on accordion-folded handmade paper. The book is case bound in a full paper binding painted and decorated with stenciled images of plants. Paper all handmade by Peter.

Twenty-six watercolors of wildflowers native to the California coast range painted on site by Donna Thomas.
(Out of Print)



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The Tarantella Rose
By William Everson
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 1995. Edition of 75

10.63 x 7.63" 38 pages. 7 linocut illustrations by Donna. Letterpress printed with Weiss type on Peter's handmade paper. Modified limp vellum binding using Peter's handmade paper.

Previously unpublished poems by William Everson.

Peter Thomas took a course in book making from William Everson in 1987. He then studied with Everson and eventually became his assistant until the poet's death in 1994.
(SOLD/Out of Print)

Tarantella Rose book
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By Ben Franklin, Mark Twain and Peter Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2003. Edition of 100.

2.5 x 2", 5 pages. Letterpress printed, on Peter's handmade paper, using old wood and metal types and images of clocks which Donna carved out of linoleum. The cover and end pages both required at least ten press runs to print all the different clocks and the various settings of "time is time." The binding, made with wood and Peter's handmade paper, is another variation in their series of "Stick Structure" books. The printed pages are folded and glued over wooden dowels which have been painted gold. These "pages" can turn: they are set in holes drilled into a wooden framework which has also been painted gold. This differs from previous "flap books" as it has the text mounted inside the back cover. A space has been created behind the text to hold a one dollar bill, which can be removed. The one dollar bills were ordered direct from the US Treasury and are sequentially numbered, thus the number on the bill matches the book's edition number.

This book is about time and money. On one side of the page is what Ben Franklin has to say, what Mark Twain has to say is on the other side. Peter's text is on the cover, end pages and the one dollar bill.
(Out of Print)


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The Train Comes to Wichita
By Peter Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2004. Edition of 20

7 x 3 x 2.75" Three two sided 15 inch scrolling pages.

This book was designed and produced for an exhibit at the Wichita Art Museum. The train is a model of the typical western steam locomotive used during the period of westward expansion. The engineer's compartment has been hollowed out, a hole drilled parallel through it, and a brass crank placed through that hole. The text, on five scrolls, stacked on top of each other and rolled onto the same crank shaft tell the story of the arrival of the train in Wichita. The text, written by Peter after immersing himself in train lore and Wichita's early history juxtaposes fact with folk song: two of the scrolls are the lyrics to songs (The Old Chisholm Trail and The Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe). Each scroll is decorated with water color illustrations painted by Donna, and has been color photocopied onto Peter's handmade paper. This book is the first time that multiple scrolls have been used as "pages" in an artist book.

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Train Depots
By Peter Thomas
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2008. Edition of 85.

3 x 2.25"; 44 pages. Letterpress printed with handset metal type using 14 point Centaur for the text and 24 point Old Town for the titles. Printed on Peter's handmade paper. 9 line drawing illustrations. Handbound by Peter and Donna Thomas in black leather with the title stamped on a wood panel inset in the front cover.

Peter Thomas: "This is a short history of train depot buildings in the United States. There are 9 line drawing illustrations of train depots, printed in black ink on a blue square. The blue square was printed from small blocks of wood found at the site of an old train depot in La Grand, California, and was printed so that the color offset on the reverse side of the page as well."
(SOLD/Out of Print)

Train Depots book

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Sigurd Olson, quotation by
Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 2009. Edition of 50.

3 x 2.875"; 16 unnumbered pages. Miniature. Accordion with end papers attached to boards. Casebound with marbled paper boards and leather spine. Illustrated title label on front board.

Wilderness is more than lakes, rivers & timbers along the shore ...
It is the sense of the primeval, of space, solitude, silence, and the eternal mystery.

Colophon: "Watercolors painted while on a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. The quote is from an article in Naturalist magazine."

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Page last update: 03.27.2023


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